Las Vegas Mayor Wants Apology From Obama

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:

Las Vegas' colorful mayor, Oscar Goodman, wants President Barack Obama to apologize for saying that companies shouldn't visit Las Vegas using tax payers money.

"What's a better place, as I say, than for them to come here," Goodman told KLAS-TV. "And to change their mind and to go someplace else and to cancel _ and at the suggestion of the president of the United States _ that's outrageous."

The media has been especially critical of big banks arranging corporate junkets to Las Vegas for their employees after accepting billions of dollars in government bailout money.  Obama echoed that sentiment.

"You can't take a trip to Las Vegas or down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayer's dime," Obama said on Monday during a town hall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana.

It was Steve Wynn's new resort that took the biggest hit last week after Wells Fargo, under intense scrutiny, backed out of a 12-day junket.  That bank has received $25 billion in bailout funds.

"The most responsible thing they can do is choose us as a destination," said Andrew Pascal, president of Wynn Las Vegas, in an interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal.

That paper reports that the Vegas business sector brought 22,000 events, $8.5 billion in spending and directly sustained more than 43,000 jobs in 2008.

A White House spokesman said it was looking into the mayor's comments and did not have immediate comment.

Goodman said Obama's remarks at the town hall meeting were unwarranted.

"That's outrageous, and he owes us an apology," he said. "He owes us a retraction."

Late Monday, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said it had moved a three-day conference from the Las Vegas Strip to San Francisco amid what the bank called a broad review of its activities. Goldman Sachs has accepted $10 billion in federal bailout funds.

Jagajeet Chiba, 

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